Are you looking for India travel tips for your first trip? We too did a lot of research before our backpacking trip to India to best prepare ourselves for the India adventure. Some of the India travel tips that helped us a lot, as well as some information that we missed, we have compiled here for you.

Hi Guys!

We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.

Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers

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Applying for a visa

For a trip to India you have to apply for a visa online beforehand. For a normal vacation a visa for 30 days is sufficient. For this, you need to fill out the application, upload a biometric photo and pay just under 82 USD (as of June 22, 2018).

Filling out the application is more complicated than expected… they really want to know everything from you and even your parents. Best take care of it a few weeks in advance. However, with the so-called eVisa, you don’t have to send your passports anywhere or stand in line at any embassy. It’s all done conveniently online. Procedure for applying for a visa in India:

There are also agencies that will do the supposedly onerous work for you, but in our opinion, you can save yourself this money.

Currency

In India you pay with the Indian Rupee (iR).

  • 82 iR = 1 EUR
  • 500 iR = 6 EUR
  • 1000 iR = 12 EUR
  • 5000 iR = 60 EUR

You can find the current exchange rate at finanzen.net

How much does a trip to India cost?

India is extremely cheap as a travel destination. We spent about 1100 € each for our 2.5 week vacation… of which about 600 € for the flight. Partly you can get flights for 450€ from Germany. Also the trips with the bus were very cheap. Partly it was only cent amounts for bus rides of several hours. We never had to pay more as tourists than locals. With the TukTuks (and/or engine rickshaws) that was naturally different.

A ride to the bus station 20 minutes away can cost 6 euros. For simple accommodations we paid mostly 7-20 € per double room. Nice homestays were among them as well as simple straw huts on the beach. The most expensive accommodation we had with 36€ per night in Mumbai. Also in restaurants or at street stalls you pay most only a few euros per person for a complete meal.

India For First Timers | All You Need To Know

Vaccinations

The best way to find out which vaccinations are advisable for a particular country is to visit the website of the German Foreign Office. If you still need vaccinations, it is best to ask your health insurance whether they cover the vaccination costs. Often a part or even everything is reimbursed. The German Foreign Office currently recommends the following vaccinations for India (as of September 2018):

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid

For long-term stays or special risk additionally:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies
  • Meningococcal meningitis
  • Japanese encephalitis

India travel tips – bus driving

During our research we had the particular problem that we hardly found India travel tips for bus driving. Many tourists travel with drivers. However, we wanted to travel India by public transport. It turned out that riding a bus in India is easier than we thought. There are regular bus connections between the larger cities.

So when you pick a route for your trip to India, all you have to do is follow the roads between the cities on the map. We never saw any schedules of when the buses would leave and we were always prepared for waiting times. But either the buses run very regularly or we were lucky every time. We always just went to the train station and asked for the bus we wanted…. shortly after boarding it then already started.

India For First Timers | All You Need To Know After the bus has left, the ticket seller usually comes, where you can buy your ticket. The rides cost no more than a few cents to max. 2-3 euros. But for this price we were on the bus the whole day. However, riding a bus in India means… the buses are old and rickety, often have no windows and the doors are sometimes open during the ride 🙂 We never had any problems while riding the bus. We always arrived where we wanted to go and when we asked for directions we were at least shown the right direction. So dare and take the bus 🙂

Taking the train and booking train tickets in India

Riding a train in India is not very easy, because as a foreigner you are not allowed to book tickets online. For online booking you need an Indian cell phone number. Since we don’t have this, we booked our train tickets for the night train through www.cleartrip.com . This worked without any problems. If you are registered, you can select the desired train line and class and book your ticket without any problems.

India For First Timers | All You Need To Know Otherwise, there is of course still the possibility to book his train ticket on the spot at the counter. However, this is much more time-consuming, because you have to fill out a form and also need all the data of the train. If you have bad luck, it can also be that the desired tickets are already fully booked. So if you don’t want to risk unplanned waiting times, book your tickets in advance at www.cleartrip.com. An overview of the individual train routes can be found on the official website of the Indian Railways.

More articles about India

What do you eat in India?

The food in southern India consists very much of vegetarian curries…and that already for breakfast. A breakfast like we have there is only in the tourist regions. In general, vegetarian food is also the standard there, meat rather the exception. Also, there are not many opportunities to buy food. In most of the small villages there are no supermarkets.

You can usually only buy bananas, chips, cookies and, depending on the region, fried pastries in smaller stores. And of course drinks. When buying water, especially drinks, always make sure that the bottle cap is unopened. Otherwise it can quickly happen that you get a bottle filled with tap water… and we all know how that can end 🙁

The first real supermarket we saw after a week in the mall in Mysore and there directly made a bulk purchase. In the tourist places, like Hampi or Goa, there are also restaurants with western food beside the Indian restaurants… for those who, like us, do not like Indian food so much.

India For First Timers | All You Need To Know

Double Room only for married Couples

In Mumbai (and also in other places) we read in many hotels that double rooms are only given to married couples. This is often also stated in the hotel terms and conditions at booking.com*. The reason for this is that many hotels are run by Muslim owners. We were afraid that we would have to take 2 rooms, because we had booked a hotel that had this condition on its website.

We have already prepared for heated discussion. Arrived at the hotel, and greeted by the employee in traditional Muslim costume, happened but… nothing! No question about the marriage certificate, wedding rings or anything else. We simply got our double room. I think that’s how it works in most hotels, so you shouldn’t worry too much about that.

India Travel Tips – Being Photographed

If you are blonde and female, prepare to be stared at and photographed a lot, sometimes even secretly as you walk by. At least that’s what my girlfriend had to experience on our trip to India. But in most cases it was positive. Most ask whether they are allowed to take a photo or whether they can be photographed with one.

This happened to us everywhere, even in Mumbai, where you would think that people are used to many tourists. But even there we have not seen many white tourists. So be prepared to feel like a Hollywood star!

Indien Reisetipps zu fotografiert werden Hopefully with these India travel tips you are already a bit better prepared for your India trip. If you still need ideas for your itinerary, take a look at our other articles.


If you have already been to India and still have India travel tips and tricks to add, leave us a comment!

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